They’re back, though, in a big way for the Wolves this season — as was a rare 5 p.m. Saturday game in Chicago a week ago — partly for this reason: Midafternoon in Minnesota is 9:30 p.m. in Barcelona and prime time, too, elsewhere in neighboring countries and cultures where the evening’s activities just start later. The first soccer game NBA vice president of global media Matt Brabants ever attended in Madrid started at 9:30 p.m. “I thought it was ridiculously late,” Brabants said. “We had dinner at a restaurant at 8, which was early. Everything starts later. Watching a game at 9:30 on a Sunday or midnight on a Saturday is pretty normal for Europeans, so it works to our benefit.”
Fortunately, the league is coming around. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last week during the Board of Governors news conference that he expected the league to ultimately reduce the number of preseason games. “I think there’s a general sense right now that in this day and age where players are in condition all year round, are working out hard in the summer, that we don’t necessarily need an eight game preseason moving into the regular season,” Silver said. “There still is a sense that training camp is very important. You have a lot of young players in the league. You have maybe more movement than you had historically. So practice time is still important. There’s a financial component of the preseason as well that we have to look at with the Players’ Association.”
Coaches lament the loss of two-a-days, both as a corrective once the exhibition season begins, and as a carrot: play well, either in a game or in the first workout, and we won’t do a second. The result is much less time for teams to work together in camp, while still having to slog through all those games. Hopefully, that time is coming to an end. “I think the expectation is we’ll be reducing the number of preseason games,” Silver said. “Precisely where the line will be is uncertain.”
Q: What does a fast start look to you? A: That’s a good question. You take the first 25 (games) and say, is 14-11 too low? That is, at this point, perhaps survival. I want to take the mentality that we attack the schedule especially after we get off that (early five-game) road trip. I’ll probably look at it as one week being three games and then the road trip is five, and then where can we go from there?